Becoming more confident is a lot like getting fitter. You might not realise it but your self-confidence works just like a muscle – it grows the more you use it and it gets better with time.
Your confidence plan, as I like to call it, is similar to the type of programme you would follow in a gym (except without the sweat bands). As a life coach it's my job to help you create one, the same way it’s the job of your personal trainer to help you create a fitness plan.
A good work out will consist of some sort of warm up, a strength component and a high intensity block at the end - I want you to think of boosting your confidence in the same way. Your confidence building plan is made up of a reps and sets of carefully selected exercises that will help grow your self confidence.
And like all good workouts adequate fuel and recovery is crucial.
Confidence plays such a massive role in our ability to function at or above our potential. So, suffice it to say we need to understand what it is and how we can develop this skill – a skill that will enable us to live life to our potential.
People often confuse confidence with self esteem so its important to draw the distinction!
Confidence refers to how we feel about our abilities (people and future) whilst self esteem refers to how we feel about ourselves - our worth and value!
But did you know that there are two different types of self confidence?
General self-confidence is that that “I can handle it feeling”. People who are generally self-confident do not dwell on negative consequences and usually view outcomes optimistically. They have high self-esteem, which basically refers to the emotional feeling we have about our own self worth. Generally self-confident people appear to take more risks, do not question themselves and believe that they can handle any problem.
Specific self-confidence is based on experience and is that “I’ve been successful in this area before” feeling. People who have specific self-confidence have experienced success and generally do not question their ability or worth in this task. People who have specific self-confidence may have low self esteem or self belief outside the area they are confident in.
Some psychologists believe that general confidence is a personality trait but that specific confidence is a state of mind and can be learned, influenced and developed. Therefor, specific confidence can be the building block for general confidence.
Have you felt this distinction in your every day life before? You can perform very complex tasks in work, interact and converse with your colleagues with confidence but if approached by a guy in a bar you become shy and introverted.
Working on my confidence like I'm working on my fitness
It's easy to forget that our brains need a work out too. Nevertheless, the rewards from increased confidence and a deeper understanding of your value and worth will help ensure that your mental fitness will never be neglected again.
A confidence building programme will as no one persons journey will be the same. We are all unique! Your confidence building plan will empower you to take controlled and measured steps outside of your comfort zone - a toxic resting place where fear, doubts and insecurities fester.
A Warm Up
Whether it is working on becoming more confident in your body, expressing an opinion or gaining clarity about your future you will need to start with a warm up. Tools like visualisations, dressing to impress or listening to your favourite song will help get you in an empowered state of mind.
A crucial part of your plan will be to pursue real life experiences, you must take action - baby steps - in the area that you want to become confident in. This is like the strength component of your work out and this is the foundation from which your future success will be built. You can not talk your way to increased self confidence, the same way you can't talk your way to being stronger, fitter or faster! This part can be hard and scary but there is no greater sense of joy or pride then being responsible conquering your own fears.
Once you have taken your first baby step the post event analysis will kick in. Breaking bad habits such as over analysing, comparing and self doubt can cause anxiety, guilt and even shame. We begin to wish we had done something differently, better or not at all. We obsess over the past and dishonour ourselves and our journey in the process. The high intensity block will sometimes feel like the hardest. Your heart rate is through the roof, you are out of breath and your muscles ache. You FEEL everything deeply and sometimes you just want to give up, but you have to persevere! Positive affirmations and a compelling goal will see across the finish line.
And in much the same way your muscles will need to be stretched, nourished with enough food and rested after exercise you will need to supplement your confidence building plan with lots of self care too.
When your goal is to achieve great things you will experience some challenges, but the difference between people who succeed and people who don't is that successful people will always stand back up. This is why self care is so important. To honour yourself and your journey by showing as much love and kindness to yourself as you might show other people in our life.
What does a confidence building programme look like?
1 x 5 entries into your positivity journal
1 x 5 entries into your gratitude journal
1 x 10-15 positive affirmations
1 - 5 x visualisations of major events
1 x weekly and monthly goal
1 x lodging into your success bank
Protein shakers full of love, kindness and compassion
These are just a few of the many things you can do to increase your self confidence. You can track and measure your progress in your confidence building journal and make a list of all the things that you need to do each day. Every step you take out of your comfort zone and every new experience is a confidence PR and you should feel very proud! Celebrate these moments :-)
A clear and uniquely designed plan of action will make boosting your self confidence fun, empowering and doable.
Have you tried doing some of them? If not, it’s time that you start confidence building programme, because your brain needs a work out too!
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